Advocacy Update: Budget update and Actions, Actions, Actions.

Illinois is approaching mid May. At this point, there are just more than two weeks left of the legislative session. Unfortunately, proposed cuts that would devastate the independence of people with all types of disabilities are still on the table. Below is an update from Access Living’s Advocacy Director. The update includes an action alert, and many pieces of critical information.

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Dear Access Living friends and allies,

We have several important updates for you in this message! Be sure to read through to catch them all.

First, Senate Resolution 342 to oppose the DON score change is on the agenda for the Senate Human Services Committee tomorrow at 3 pm. We at Access Living urge you to take quick action at this link to contact the Senators on the committee. They need to know they should vote YES on SR 342, to oppose the DON change!

Second, the Civic Federation issued a report late last week that analyzes the state’s budget situation and makes several recommendations for action, including investing in programs like the Home Services Program and the Community Care Program in order to realize cost savings. This is a very important report that will be discussed this week in the legislature, so it is great to know the community living is part of their recommendations. They also recommended that the state continue to close down the Murray State Operated Developmental Center, which Access Living supports. The report can be found at www.civicfederation.org and is titled “State of Illinois FY2016 Recommended Operating and Capital Budgets: Analysis and Recommendations.”

Third, late last week the Illinois Supreme Court shot down the 2013 state pension reform law, leaving Illinois on the hook for $2.2 billion in pension payments. The state must pay pension payments first, then everything else (like human services, transit, capital projects and education). The court suggested several ways to pay for the pensions, including raising income taxes. This is a huge development for the state budget process, so it’s going to be a rocky week in Springfield.

Fourth, this Wednesday May 13, we are coordinating a rally and march on the state budget cuts from 3:45 to 5:30 pm at 201 E. Randolph. The march will end at 340 E. Randolph. To participate in this event, contact Brock Grosso at 312-640-2148 or bgrosso@accessliving.org.

Fifth, as previously mentioned, Access Living will join independent living advocates from around the state at the capitol on May 19 for a rally at 12:30 and legislative visits. Feel free to join us! Check out the convening organization, the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois, at www.ccdionline.org .

Sixth, on Wednesday, May 20, Sacred Creations is leading a statewide rally for mental health funding at the State Capitol. Key links for joining this rally are:

SACRED CREATIONS – Registration http://www.sacredcreations.org/

RECOVERY & EMPOWERMENT DAY - Facebook Updates https://www.facebook.com/recoveryandempowermentday?fref=ts

RECOVERY & EMPOWERMENT DAYFunding

And last, on Friday, May 22, the Independent Movement of paratransit Riders for Unity, Vehicles, Equality (IMPRUVE) will be holding a rally from 11:45 to 1:30 pm at Amtrak, 22 S. Canal, to bring attention to the crisis in funding and customer service for paratransit riders. All are welcome. Questions may be directed to Dr. Ayo Maat at 773-916-6228 or 773-544-9488.

Clearly there’s a great deal going on. We are so proud of disability advocates for mobilizing to make our voices heard. Let’s go Illinois!

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living